Do Fish Finders Scare Fish Away?

Do Fish Finders Scare Fish Away

There is a lot of debate on the table regarding the topic “Do fish finders scare fish away?”. However to answer this question one must be equipped with the knowledge of how a fish finder works under the water and what are the properties of sound and how it travels under the water.

We all are aware that sound travels much better under the water than in the air.

But under the water, the sound is not the same as we hear it above the water. Under the water, sound travels in vibrations.

Regarding this one can even ask how fishes produce sound under the water so that they can communicate about their whereabouts? Well, fishes are excellent creatures and they do produce sound by rubbing their bones close to the fin and oscillating their swim bladders together.

There is a lot of evidence regarding the sounds of the fish finders, and how fishes can detect them. Because whales make a lot of noise and fishes recognize that too. So it is obvious that fishes can recognize the sound of sonar or a fish finder too.

Do Fish Finders Scare Fish Away

In this article you are going to read how fish finders affect fish underwater, do they scare them away or not? OR what are the possible options of fish finders in one should invest so that he can catch fish without having any worries?

Do Fish Finders Scare Fish Away?

There is no clear evidence about fish finders or sonars scaring the fish away. There is not enough evidence or studies to back up this hypothesis.

The major challenge for a fisherman beside the casting and baiting is where to locate the fish and for that purpose one opts for a fish finder. Although there are many anglers who like to put their trust in their experience and intellect, there has been an increasing popularity of fish finders among anglers to find fish. But do they emit anything that can scare the fish away?

We hope that’s not the case and let’s start to rule out this myth that fish finders scare fish away. To understand whether fish finders scare the fish away let us first understand the main components of a fish finder.

Two main components of the fish finder

All of the fish finders are primarily composed of these two things:

  • A transducer
  • A control head

The control head is usually referred to as the fish finder. Well, no one cares about the control head (screen and the interface) because it won’t scare the fish away anyways. The main area of concern here is the transducer.

The transducer is the main thing that emits the sonar signals, which are normally known as ping or frequency. These signals, or pings, concern people that it may scare the fish away because fish finders and sonars are primarily used for fish detection.

Fish Finders And Commercial Fishing

There are no reports from any type of anglers, and peers or double-blind studies that support the notion that fish finders scare the fish away. However, still, for research purposes, we can use this anecdote that maybe the pings or the frequencies emitting from the transducer are the cause of scaring the fish.

In commercial fishing, anglers use high-power sonars because they have to detect fish in huge quantities, and thereby their equipment is of much higher power than our hobbyist anglers.

All over the world, there are more than three hundred billion people that are dependent on fish as a source of protein. If the sonar or the fish finders do scare the fish away then the fishing industry must have dropped this technology until now.

However, in reality, the world of fish finders is progressing day after day, and more sophisticated and high-energy sonars and fish finders are being produced.

So this is a complete myth that fish finders scare off the fish because if they do they won’t use it for commercial purposes. Instead, they do an excellent job when it comes to finding the fish.

Are Fish Finders Cheating?

Fish finders are tools to effectively catch the fish and increase your catch rate. It’s not like a magic wand or something because even if you have a fish finder on your boat but you don’t know how to read one you are going to catch the same as the person who knows how to anchor only.

Most people think it’s a cheat in a sense because one is using outside aid to locate fish and the true sense of fishing as in luck and technique is kind of disturbed.

However, it is completely up to you if you want to use a fish finder or not because it will only help the process of catching fish but you still have to catch the fish on your own.

How Do You Scare Fish Away?

One of the major tools for bass anglers is a fish finder. Most of the pro anglers won’t use them if they are fishing in waters that are shallow than thirty feet.

Most of the anglers give a statement that fishes do scare away from the transducer’s clicks. They say that the statement is partially true when they are fishing in the water that is 30 to 80 ft deep.

The clicks are almost inaudible but the notion that says sound travels much faster in water than the air may raise a question.

According to the experts, under the water, there are a lot of possible noises that one can even imagine. So the clicks of a transducer won’t even matter in the collective noises that are already present under the water.

Therefore they usually recommend keeping your fish finder on all the time rather than switching it off and on again and again. Because then it may scare the fish away. When the transducer is on all the time the fishes become habitual of the noise as a part of their ecosystem.

Things other than your transducer may scare the fish away like sounds of your boat, the kayak, the opening of the toolbox, the sound of the baitfish, etc. These sounds are much more audible than the clicks of a transducer and may scare off the fish.

After all, not all fish finders make clicking noises anyway. Also, there are multiple boats with the transducers in an ocean or lake at the same time, so the clicking sound gets muffled in the collective noise under the water.

Can Fish Sense Fish Finders?

Some fishes can hear a lot better than the others under the water. For example, stripers hear much better than we do. Also, sound travels much better and faster under the water. Therefore, the clicks may alert the fish temporarily. On the other hand, some marine animals are also capable of detecting high-frequency sonar waves that a fish finder emits.

However, companies are coming up with very sophisticated sonars and fish finders that are hardly undetectable by the fish. Of course, for a while when you are alone in the water they may sense it but still, fish finders are extensively used to increase the catch rate among anglers. You should know what do fish look like on a fish finder.

How Effective Are The Fish Finders?

Fish finders are extensively used by anglers and fishermen alike to locate and catch fish efficiently. The transducer emits the sonar waves that will let you explore the fish and structures that you would not know otherwise. The pings or the frequencies emitted by the fish finders are reflected back by the air in the swim bladders of the fish and then you see a fish image on the screen.

However, the efficiency of a fish finder majorly relies on the angler as well, you have to know how to read it properly otherwise it does not matter how expensive your fish finder is, your money will be wasted.

Are Fish Scared Of Boats?

Fishes are not scared of the boats themselves but the sound of them. Huge boats with extensive engines may spook the fish away. Also in smaller boats, the motor is not too noisy but the frequent noise produced in the boat by jumping up and down and throwing bait fish may scare the fish away from your boat.

Boats with huge motors disrupt the water creating strong ripples and destroying the crucial habitat for fish. These boats when traveling in shallow water can even damage the soil bedding and plants present underwater, hence destroying the life cycles that impose a negative impact on the fish.

If you are fishing in shallow waters keep your motor slow so that the fish can get accustomed to the motor sound considering it their habitat. The thing that alarms the fish is when you frequently turn on and off your motor.

It is also important that there is no evidence supporting the fact that fishes are scared of boats. Different fish species behave differently to the electric current as well, so that’s the other thing to consider as well.


Fish finders are a great tool for anglers that are new to fishing but still want to take some fish to their homes. They accurately tell you about the fish’s position, structure, and size. Fish finders are made for fish detection in the first place, so there is no clear evidence that they can scare the fish away. Because if that was the case it was not used so extensively in commercial fishing.

Ricki Cooper

I have been fishing for 11 years. I believe in the famous saying "If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business".

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